Current Microbiology

, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 426–433 | Cite as

Photo Inactivation of Streptococcus mutans Biofilm by Violet-Blue light

  • Grace F. GomezEmail author
  • Ruijie Huang
  • Meoghan MacPherson
  • Andrea G. Ferreira Zandona
  • Richard L. Gregory


Among various preventive approaches, non-invasive phototherapy/photodynamic therapy is one of the methods used to control oral biofilm. Studies indicate that light at specific wavelengths has a potent antibacterial effect. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of violet-blue light at 380–440 nm to inhibit biofilm formation of Streptococcus mutans or kill S. mutans. S. mutans UA159 biofilm cells were grown for 12–16 h in 96-well flat-bottom microtiter plates using tryptic soy broth (TSB) or TSB with 1 % sucrose (TSBS). Biofilm was irradiated with violet-blue light for 5 min. After exposure, plates were re-incubated at 37 °C for either 2 or 6 h to allow the bacteria to recover. A crystal violet biofilm assay was used to determine relative densities of the biofilm cells grown in TSB, but not in TSBS, exposed to violet-blue light. The results indicated a statistically significant (P < 0.05) decrease compared to the non-treated groups after the 2 or 6 h recovery period. Growth rates of planktonic and biofilm cells indicated a significant reduction in the growth rate of the violet-blue light-treated groups grown in TSB and TSBS. Biofilm viability assays confirmed a statistically significant difference between violet-blue light-treated and non-treated groups in TSB and TSBS. Visible violet-blue light of the electromagnetic spectrum has the ability to inhibit S. mutans growth and reduce the formation of S. mutans biofilm. This in vitro study demonstrated that violet-blue light has the capacity to inhibit S. mutans biofilm formation. Potential clinical applications of light therapy in the future remain bright in preventing the development and progression of dental caries.


Fructan Endogenous Porphyrin Fiber Optic Line Potent Antibacterial Effect Crystal Violet Staining Assay 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are thankful for the support given by Ms. Sharon Gwinn. We would like to thank Mr. George J. Eckert for statistical support and Dr. Afnan Al-Zain for helpful discussions.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This was an in vitro study with no human or animal subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grace F. Gomez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ruijie Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Meoghan MacPherson
    • 3
  • Andrea G. Ferreira Zandona
    • 4
  • Richard L. Gregory
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical and Applied SciencesIndiana University School of DentistryIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatric Dentistry, West China School of StomatologySichuan UniversityChengduChina
  3. 3.Department of Bioengineering, College of EngineeringTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Operative DentistryThe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - School of DentistryChapel HillUSA

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